Arteta 'looking forward' following Tottenham defeat
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Arsenal boss Mikel Arteta may well have to gamble on the fitness of two key defenders against Newcastle this evening. Arsenal likely have to win their final two matches of the Premier League season in order to secure a Champions League spot after Tottenham beat Burnley on Sunday. Express Sport picks the XI Arteta is expected to field at St James’ Park in the crunch clash.
Goalkeeper – Ramsdale
Aaron Ramsdale has failed to keep a clean sheet in each of his last nine appearances. Bernd Leno has the only shutout for Arsenal in their last 10 matches but is not expected to be brought in for this one.
Ramsdale couldn’t do much about any of Tottenham’s goals in Thursday’s 3-0 loss to their north London rivals. Arteta will stick with the England international but needs him on top of his game.
Defence – Tomiyasu, White, Gabriel, Tavares
It is do or die for Arsenal this evening. If they don’t win, Spurs only have to beat relegated Norwich on the final day to finish above them.
Ben White was clearly not fit enough at Tottenham, which is why he was not brought on after Rob Holding’s red card. But Arteta needs to throw the £50million man in tonight.
Gabriel also limped off against Spurs but Arteta has not ruled the Brazilian out and he is needed against Eddie Howe’s side. Takehiro Tomiyasu could move over to his preferred right-back position, with Nuno Tavares coming into the team in place of Cedric Soares.
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Midfield – Elneny, Xhaka; Odegaard
There are not many alternatives for Arteta to the midfield that has featured in the last five matches. Albert Sambi Lokonga is waiting in the wings for his chance but Mohamed Elneny has proven to be a better option of late.
Thomas Partey is not expected to be back before the end of the season, so Elneny is set to feature again. Granit Xhaka’s leadership could be key in a must-win match for the Gunners.
Martin Odegaard has struggled of late in terms of goals and assists. However, having worn the armband in recent weeks, he is likely to keep his place.
Attack – Saka, Nketiah, Smith Rowe
Bukayo Saka looks like he needs the end of the season to come fast. Arsenal have relied heavily on the England star, who has not missed a league match all season.
But Arteta is unlikely to be tempted to rest him in such a huge game. He may consider bringing Alexandre Lacazette in for his experience but Eddie Nketiah’s recent goalscoring record should mean he keeps his spot ahead of the Frenchman.
Gabriel Martinelli could lose out to Emile Smith Rowe after coming off against Spurs.
Arsenal expected XI vs Newcastle in full: Ramsdale; Tomiyasu, White, Gabriel, Tavares; Elneny, Xhaka; Saka, Odegaard, Smith Rowe; Nketiah.
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